In Glasgow's Kelvingrove Park, the bodies of two youths lie with bullet holes in their heads. Hungover, nicotine-starved and ill-attired, procurator fiscal Maddy Shannon attends the scene, unaware that this grim morning is about to spiral out of control. The corpses have been carefully disfigured, perhaps signs of gangland revenge or, worse, ritual slayings.As the gruesomeIn Glasgow's Kelvingrove Park, the bodies of two youths lie with bullet holes in their heads. Hungover, nicotine-starved and ill-attired, procurator fiscal Maddy Shannon attends the scene, unaware that this grim morning is about to spiral out of control. The corpses have been carefully disfigured, perhaps signs of gangland revenge or, worse, ritual slayings.As the gruesome complexities of the investigation multiply, the fragmented story of Maddy's immigrant ancestors emerges as a counterpoint to brutality and corruption. As she struggles to prove her worth against the darkest side of human nature, we discover the history and heartbreak that created this strong-willed woman.Potter's Field is the first of a Maddy Shannon crime mystery series....
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Potter's Field Reviews
Potter's Field is a police procedural seen from the procurator fiscal's point of view but it also a character study of Maddy Shannon, said procurator, and her roots.Maddy is first introduced when she turns up wrongly dressed in a skirt and heels to view a crime scene. The scene is particularly gruesome with 2 teenagers shot dead and mutilated in the face. The first problem lies in identifying the victims, the second in identifying a suspect. And then the body of another teenager turns up which may or may not be linked. Is there a link to a series of similar murders in New York?There are plenty of twists and turns in this novel which kept me glued to the pages. The police do not come out of it too well as they try and make the facts to fit their preferred suspect which I suspect may be closer to reality sometimes than the usual fictional open-mindedness. Thank goodness they have Maddy to investigate for them and ferret out details they have missed. Unfortunately this is not part of her job description so it leads to a certain amount of friction.Maddy is a bit of a stereotype - late 30s, career driven singleton who drinks too much to stave off the loneliness of her preoccupation with work - but she is also warm and very human. A good person for a night out. I can't say I particularly warmed to the other characters.I am an avid crime fiction reader where the search for perpetrators is at the heart of the novel so I found Maddy's grandpa's backstory and the pages devoted to it a tedious waste of time which seems pretentious as it contributes nothing to the main plot. Don't get me wrong Potter's Field is a cleverly plotted, well written novel which captures the essence of Glasgow well but it's not a book I would read again (my definition of a 5 star read).
I wasn't sure about Potter's Field to begin with, which had a slightly chaotic start. The blurb had already told me that the central character was Maddy Shannon, a Scottish Procurator Fiscal who frankly gets involved in things that shouldn't really concern her. Her own life is chaotic, and early on we learn that she's from a strict Catholic background which she would probably like to reject bit has a surprising hold on her. Her grandfather is dying, and we learn a little about his life from flashbacks that appear rather randomly in the middle of the plot. More of which later.Nor did I much take to the other police sidekicks Coulter and Russell. I think the reader is supposed to like Coulter more, but I didn't feel I got to know enough about the good qualities of either.And then there was the crime itself, based around the discovery of three teenage bodies in a park with similar-style markings on their faces. Maddy's investigation brings her into contact with a New York policemen investigating similar murders, and there are any number of red herrings before reaching a clever climax. But as the story moved along, I began to get into it, to get the rhythm of Dolan's writing. That said, I found the flashbacks irritating, a sort of "readus interruptus" that messed up the flow of the novel. If there have to be more in future novels, I'd rather the flashbacks were all rolled up into one chapter near the start. Readers should also be aware that the font/typography used for the flashbacks isn't all that different from the main body, perhaps just a little smaller, that's all.But for a first crime novel, this is decent. Most crime writers take two or three novels in the series to get their characters properly bedded in and their plotting really tight. The next one is by the bedside and and I'll look forward to reading that soon.
Well that was a truly great read.So much so I'm going to sign up for the sequel...
Crime thriller set in Glasgow. As a Glaswegian, I can say Chris really captures something about the city. Story rattles along in a thoroughly entertaining fashion. Definitely one to pack for your summer holidays!
It's great to discover a new Scottish writer. Chris Dolan has written an exciting thriller full of twists and turns, red herrings, emotional turmoil and great humour. Absolutely loved it and would highly recommend.
Glasgow set thriller with the Procurator Fiscal doing the investigating (eh?). Too many distracting factual errors and implausible plot twists to let me get into it properly. Disappointing.